France routs Netherlands 4-0 to regain control of Group A

SAINT-DENIS, France (AP) — France regained control of its World Cup destiny with a comfortable 4-0 win against the Netherlands in Group A on Thursday, putting the Dutch almost out of contention and moving Les Bleus three points clear of Sweden after it lost 3-2 at Bulgaria.

Antoine Griezmann’s 17th international goal put France on its way in the first half, and Monaco attacking midfielder Thomas Lemar’s first two international goals after the break secured victory against a shoddy Dutch side short on invention and lacking in composure.

Just hours after sealing a loan move from Monaco to Paris Saint-Germain, 18-year-old star Kylian Mbappe came off the bench to score the fourth in a breathtaking cameo. It was his first international goal and taken with the confidence and poise of a seasoned striker.

Lemar struck his first with a crisp half-volley from the edge of the penalty area in the 73rd minute, and tapped home from close range near the end after being set up by Griezmann.

Mbappe then casually stroked the ball into the bottom corner in the first minute of injury time, after running onto a neat cutback from his now former Monaco teammate Djibril Sidibe.

With Mbappe on the bench and Ousmane Dembele not selected by coach Didier Deschamps, France had the luxury of starting without the second and third most expensive players in the world.

Mbappe’s move is expected to cost PSG 180 million euros ($216 million) when made permanent next year. While Mbappe and the 20-year-old Dembele are the future, Deschamps can always count on the trusted Olivier Giroud and Griezmann.

It was only last year that they were the fulcrum of France’s attack at the European Championship, and their understanding worked again.

Anticipating Griezmann’s run behind him, Giroud cushioned a perfect pass from the edge of the penalty area into his path, allowing Griezmann to run through and place the ball between goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen’s legs.

Griezmann was involved again when midfielder Kevin Strootman was shown a straight red card in the 61st for fouling him. But there was minimal contact and the foul merited a yellow card at most.

A home win against Luxembourg on Sunday is hardly a daunting prospect for France, and will all but book its ticket for Russia next year.


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Samsung secures self-driving car permit in California

By Stephen Nellis

(Reuters) – Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said on Thursday it has received a permit to test self-driving vehicles in California, marking the entry of the world’s largest smart phone maker four months after iPhone maker and arch rival Apple Inc received a permit.

Its parent company in May secured permission from South Korean authorities to test a self-driving car fitted with its own sensors and software systems. At that time, South Korean officials said the company planned to use the car to develop a self-driving car algorithm that could drive in adverse weather.

In a statement to Reuters, Samsung did not say what precisely what it planned to test in the United States but said it secured the permit “in pursuit of a smarter, safer transportation future.”

The company, part of a massive conglomerate that makes everything from washing machines to heavy machinery, said it has “no plans to enter the car-manufacturing business.”

With the foray into the U.S. self-driving car landscape, Samsung will jostle with its friends and foes. Besides Apple, it will join Waymo, a division of Alphabet Inc, which supplies the Android operating system that runs on Samsung’s phones.

Samsung has a range of other opportunities for growth in the self-driving car business. Earlier this year, the company closed its $8 billion purchase of car audio maker Harman International Industries, giving it a wide foot print in so-called connected car technologies.

(Reporting by Stephen Nellis; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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The UN experts have recently published a report about human rights violations in Burundi. Some MPs support the report while others dismiss the allegations it contains. The recent UN report says human rights violations have escalated in Burundi since April 2015. However, MPs disagree on its content. MP Mutezinka Euphrasie says she is not surprised […]

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Cash flowing again from Fed’s flood-threatened Houston branch

By Jonathan Spicer and Ann Saphir

(Reuters) – Cash has begun flowing again from the Federal Reserve’s steel and cement vault in Houston, heading for banks in the hurricane-ravaged region after several days of flooding halted armored-truck deliveries and stranded employees overnight.

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey this week, water rose to the property of the U.S. central bank’s office in downtown Houston but did not reach the building or its above-ground vault, senior Fed officials said in an interview on Thursday.

The floods, which drenched the Gulf of Mexico coast and killed at least 35 people, marooned the Fed branch for a few days and stopped its cash shipments just as demand surged from nearby lenders. The first truck re-started deliveries on Wednesday, joining a fleet of others making emergency trips from the Fed’s San Antonio and Dallas offices to local banks that, in many cases, were not able to open on Monday.

“If in a certain location the logistics around a vault are imperiled, like in Houston, it puts much more burden on Dallas and San Antonio for re-routing … so that we can serve outlying areas of Houston,” Robert Kaplan, president of the Dallas Fed region that oversees Houston, told Reuters.

Those branches are delivering “a very high” amount of cash now, he added from the regional Fed headquarters in Dallas, without giving specifics.

Meanwhile, in the Fed’s 400-seat call center in Dallas, the first of about 100 agents from the Federal Emergency Management Agency have begun to set up shop. FEMA was concerned it would not have the physical capacity to handle calls from its existing center in nearby Denton, so the Dallas Fed offered its space, said its chief operating officer Meredith Black.

The facilities normally field calls for the U.S. Treasury to help people set up direct deposit of their federal benefit checks.

Dallas is one of the U.S. central bank’s 12 regional branches, supervising private lenders throughout Texas as well as parts of Louisiana and Oklahoma.

(For a map of Hurricane Harvey flooding in Houston and region, click

(Reporting by Jonathan Spicer and Ann Saphir; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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U.S. data sends stocks higher; yields slip

By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks rose and Treasury prices gained slightly on Thursday after data showed U.S. inflation increased at its slowest pace since late 2015, boosting expectations that the Federal Reserve will hold off from increasing interest rates again this year.

The dollar gave up early gains against a basket of major currencies, and gold prices rose as simmering tensions on the Korean peninsula supported sentiment.

U.S. consumer spending rose slightly less than expected in July and annual inflation increased at its slowest pace since late 2015. Investors’ focus will then turn to the monthly U.S. payrolls report, to be released on Friday.

“The outlook for the U.S. and the global economy remains relatively positive and most investors do not see a recession ahead,” said Michael Sheldon, chief investment officer of RDM Financial Group at HighTower.

“Given that backdrop, equity markets are likely to grind higher over the next few quarters and pullbacks are likely to be bought by investors.”

U.S. stocks extended gains after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said President Donald Trump’s administration has a detailed plan on tax reform and is still on track to execute the agenda by the end of this year.

“Even if investors aren’t taking him at his word they expect him to do all he can. This is a market that has heard tax reform so often. It wants to see if they can deliver,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey.

MSCI’s world index <.MIWD00000PUS>, which tracks shares in 46 countries, was up 0.6 percent, and touched a three week high.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> rose 59.76 points, or 0.27 percent, to 21,952.19, the S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 14.06 points, or 0.57 percent, to 2,471.65 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 57.33 points, or 0.9 percent, to 6,425.64.

European stocks rallied after Reuters reported that the euro’s rapid gains are worrying a growing number of European Central Bank policymakers, raising the chance asset purchases will be phased out only slowly. The pan-European STOXX 600 <.STOXX> closed up 0.77 percent.

The euro <EUR=>, which hit a more than 2-1/2-year high against the dollar on Tuesday, slipped on the Reuters report, before recovering to trade up 0.18 percent at $1.1902.

The dollar index <.DXY>, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, weakened after the U.S. inflation data. The index was 0.21 percent lower on the day at 92.686, having risen as high as 93.347.

The weaker dollar and continued security concerns related to North Korea helped gold prices rise. Spot gold <XAU=> was up 0.83 percent at $1,319.22 an ounce.

In the bond market, benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes <US10YT=RR> were up 4/32 in price to yield 2.133 percent, down from 2.145 percent on Wednesday.

Trading volumes were relatively low, however, with some investors reluctant to buy Treasuries given yields are near their lowest since November.

Gasoline futures <RBc1> surged 13.5 percent as almost a quarter of U.S. refining capacity remained offline due to Tropical Storm Harvey and traders scrambled to reroute millions of barrels of fuel.

U.S. crude <CLc1> settled up $1.27 or 2.76 percent, at $47.23 a barrel and Brent traded up $1.45 or 2.85 percent at $52.31

(Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Additional reporting by Karen Brettell and Sam Forgione in New York and Sruthi Shankar and Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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